Bum bag: snug protector of all valuables while on-the-go, or thief magnet to travellers? In truth, the effectiveness of waist pouches can be difficult to measure, especially when considering how hideous they make any outfit look.
One of the most common questions I've been asked working in outdoors stores is whether a special security purse or anti-theft travel bag is necessary when travelling. Obviously, some countries require travellers to have more awareness about them than others. After all, no one wants to be stranded in the middle of a foreign country with no money, passport or identification.
Before rushing out to buy one however, consider your destination. In European cities or other Western countries, having one of those bags can potentially mark you as a target to thieves. Security bags are black, use an inexcusable amount of Velcro and zips, have never, ever been in fashion and stick out like a sore thumb.
Admittedly the reinforced metal straps on those bags are a useful feature, but just because the strap is reinforced, doesn’t mean the pickpocket that is eyeing your bag knows this too. Sometimes thieves will try to slash the strap with a knife and grab the bag. But instead the thief ends up repeatedly slashing at the bag and the victim ends up with multiple cuts around their stomach, chest or shoulders, and an unexpected tour of the hospital.
No one wants to be robbed, but no bag is worth more than your life. Worst comes to worst, you can get everything back with your travel insurance.
Instead, as the old saying goes, ‘Do as the Romans do’, and just bring a well-designed, everyday purse that will help you blend in with the crowds.
The key is finding a bag with the right balance of security features that looks so commonplace passersby will hardly glance at it. Key features include:
Some destinations however do require extra steps to be taken to protect your belongings, but for those places I would again recommend choosing something that helps you blend in with everyone else, such as trousers with a concealed inner pocket.
Do you have any tips?